Province pledges $7M for agri-food research projects

BLYTH – On Monday, the Ontario government announced its support for 49 agri-food research projects with a pledge of $7 million.

The province says these funds will support greater environmentally friendly agricultural practices, protect livestock health and welfare, and stimulate economic growth within the agri-food sector and Ontario’s rural communities.

Through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, in collaboration with the University of Guelph, the province is supporting projects that include:

– evaluating the ability of natural buffer strips to reduce the impact of agricultural practices on freshwater ecosystems, protecting water quality and biodiversity;

– studying the impact of using herbs instead of antibiotics to improve calf health, growth, and welfare;

– assessing the capacity of communities to respond to rural and agricultural issues and identify best practices;

– examining pests, diseases and weeds impacting Ontario crops, develop integrated pest management practices, and examining crop genetics to improve varieties and disease resistance; and

– addressing pathways of common illnesses to improve the health of young animals and evaluating probiotics and alternative control measures.

“Agri-food research is key to strengthening Ontario’s agriculture sector; this advanced research is critical for our province to remaining a world leader in the industry,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “These projects help to develop the most advanced management practices, improve production efficiency and drive economic growth that strengthens farm businesses, the sector and rural economies.”

Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at the University of Guelph, said the university is committed to “creating world-class, cutting-edge solutions that power current and future competitiveness of Ontario’s remarkable agri-food sector.”

Added Campbell, “Discoveries made at U of G, fuelled by OMAFRA’s incredible support, will continue to underpin our province’s sustainable food systems, while ensuring a healthy, prosperous society for generations to come.”